SC affirms CGMA acquittal in PCSO fund scam case

BAGUIO CITY — The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from plunder charges in connection to the PHP366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence fund scam.

SC spokesman Theodore Te announced the directive during summer session of the magistrates in Baguio City.

In its July 2016 decision, the Court granted Arroyo’s petition for demurrer of evidence which sought the dismissal of her case for lack of sufficient evidence.

The SC decision paved the way for Arroyo’s immediate release from detention at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City last July 2016.

Apart from Arroyo, the high court also granted the same relief to her co-accused, former PCSO Assistant General Manager Benigno Aguas, and ordered his release from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

In the case of Aguas, 10 magistrates opposed the granting of the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) plea against his acquittal while five voted to grant the appeal.

During the press conference in Baguio City, Te said in denying the motion for reconsideration where (MR) 11 magistrates voted to junk the MR filed by OSG while four other magistrates voted to grant the MR in the case of Arroyo.

“The Court noted that its decision had granted petitioners’ respective demurrers to the evidence which resulted in their acquittal and thus any attempt to reconsider the Decision would amount to double jeopardy,” Te told reporters.

The SC earlier stopped the Sandiganbayan from further conducting proceedings in connection with Arroyo’s plunder case pending resolution of her petition for demurrer of evidence.

It also directed the anti-graft court to forward to the SC all the records pertaining to the case which involves the alleged misuse of PCSO’s intelligence fund from 2008 to 2010.

The SC reversed the resolutions dated April 6, 2015 and Sept. 10, 2015 of the Sandiganbayan that denied her demurrer to evidence plea.

In seeking demurrer to evidence, Arroyo noted that the prosecution failed to offer a single evidence including testimonies of its 21 to prove that she amassed ill-gotten wealth amounting to PHP365,997,915.00 or any part of that amount alleged in the Information.